It was another blustery day out on the water with sunshine and clear skies, a beautiful day for cruising. Early in the tour passengers were treated to a fabulous viewing of a Gray Whale feeding near to the shore as it was passing back and forth feeding intently. The Gray Whale is unique among whales in being a bottom feeder. They roll usually onto their right side and suck up sediment containing amphipods (crustaceans including mysid shrimp) from the sea floor; the water and silt are sieved out through the baleen with the help of the tongue. Baleen lines the entire upper jaw while the lower jaw contains gums only. With the mouth closed a little and the baleen is just touching the bottom gums, the tongue is used to squeeze the water out through the baleen. The baleen plates (stacked closely together and frayed on the inside) act like a sieve, letting the water through but retaining the zooplankton and amphidods which is then licked off the baleen by the tongue and swallowed. Although we could not see this form of feeding taking place under the water, it was still very fascinating for all of us to observe. Other species also seen today: Harbour Seals, Dall’s Porpoises, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Red-necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfishers and Bald Eagles.

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